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Richmond 34, Chevron 23, U.s. 13, Us 12, California 10, America 5, Gayle Mclaughlin 4, Amy Goodman 4, John Shiffman 4, The City 4, Phoenix 4, Reuters 3, Nsa 3, Laura Gottesdiener 3, Washington 3, Boston 3, Mclaughlin 3, Michigan 3, Obama 3, Ecuador 3,
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  LINKTV    Democracy Now    News/Business. Independent global news hour featuring news  
   headlines, in depth interviews and investigative reports....  

    August 6, 2013
    8:00 - 9:01am PDT  

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>> from pacifica, this is democracy now! i speak to the administration of chevron. our democracy is at stake here. . our health is at stake here our planet is at stake here. you must adhere to the will of the people. >> one year ago today, massive refinery fire in richmond, california sent 15,000 people to the hospital with respiratory
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problems. we will speak with richmond's mayor as chevron agrees to pay $2 million. then as president obama speaks about housing recovery in phoenix, we will look at the devastating impact of the foreclosure crisis. trying to convince me the house is foreclosed on, trying to evict me and i'm trying to keep my home. is, you took my money all those years. either work with me and let me keep my home, or give me my money back. >> we will look at how richmond, california is planning to use eminent domain to help fight the foreclosure crisis. we will speak to laura gottesdiener, author of the new book, "a dream foreclosed: black america and the fight for a place to call home." first, we look at the national security agency and the u.s. drug enforcement administration. dea agents are using intelligence gathered by the nsa to investigate americans and
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then being order to cover it up. all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. jeff bezos is buying the washington post, one of the leading newspapers in the country. the amazon.com founder and chief executive is one of the wealthiest people in the united states. he will pay $250 million for the post and a number of , less than one percent of his wealth, which is estimated at more than 28 billion dollars. he is a friend of donald graham, chief effective of the washington post company, whose family has owned the newspaper for eight decades. over the past the gate, the companies newspaper division a seen a 44% drop in operating revenue. in addition, he will get another -- a number of other washington post owned businesses.
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the deal does not include slate.com or foreign-policy magazine, which are own by the parent company that also owns kaplan and will change its name following the sale of the paper. he said management of the washington post newspaper will remain the same, but it is unclear what changes might be coming. last year, he was quoted in an interview with a german newspapers saying -- the announcement of the purchase by jeff bezos came just days after the boston red sox owner and billionaire john henry entered an agreement to buy the boston globe newspaper from the new york times company for $70 million. the obama administration is ordered all nonemergency personnel to leave yemen and
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urged u.s. citizens currently living there to depart immediately. in a statement issued today, the state department cited the continued potential for terrorist attacks. meanwhile, u.s. drone strike killed four people in yemen today, marking the fourth such attack in less than two weeks. yemeni tribal leaders said the dead were suspected members of al qaeda. one is believed to be a senior al qaeda member. the news follows revelations electronic communications between al qaeda leaders were behind me shuttering of nearly two dozen diplomatic hosts over the weekend. thehe intercepted messages, al qaeda chief reportedly ordered the leader of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula to carry out an attack as early as this past sunday. the new york times originally withheld the names of the leaders involved at the behest of u.s. intelligence officials, but reveal them after they were published by mcclatchy newspapers. the u.s. is keeping 19 diplomatic outposts closed the middle east due to the threats.
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the recent security fears have been used by some lawmakers to defend the national security agency's sweeping spy programs, which have come under fire after they were revealed by edward snowden. a reporter noted the timing of the threats during a briefing with the state department spokesperson. >> could maybe argue that suddenly we're hearing about the potential threat to u.s. interests and u.s. persons and property at a time when there is a lot of debate and a lot of criticism of this program as well as other nsa-types of surveillance? >> i can assure you that in no way at all 100% affects how we evaluate threat information coming in, specifically in terms of the threats. martial for an army major accused of killing 13 people during a rampage at fort hood, texas opens today at the same as were the attacks took place in 2009. major the doll hassan has won the right to represent himself in court, meaning he will likely
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question some of the same people he is accused of attacking. judge osborne has artie struck hen his planned defense that was protecting taliban leaders in afghanistan from u.s. soldiers. he is charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder and could face the death penalty if did. forsentencing hearing bradley manning continued monday with testimony from a top state department official. --tor kennedy claimed patrick did he claimed manning's leak of diplomatic cables to wikileaks has had a chilling effect on u.s. diplomacy by making foreign officials less forthcoming in private talks. he said -- kennedy acknowledge the state department had never completed damaged assessment for the leaks. clashes have corrupted in turkey after a court sentenced former military chief to life in prison for trying to overthrow the
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government of the turkish prime minister. court sentenced scores of other military officers along with journalists and politicians, including three current members of parliament from the opposition republican people's party. opposition lawmaker condemned the court's decision. the judiciary sentenced a military commander to life in prison. this is a threat to the turkish military and is unacceptable. if you put a commander who was the head of the army on trial as a member of a terrorist organization, it means you're targeting the army of the turkish republic. people will not accept this. >> the case has highlighted tensions between the islamist led government, turkey secular establishment, and the rising tide of protesters seeking an alternative. following their verdicts, riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullet that some 10,000 protesters massed near the
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courthouse. major league baseball has this been a new york yankees star alex rodriguez and a dozen other players as part of a massive doping scandal linked to antiaging clinic in florida. theiguez was banned through 2014 season, but immediately appealed, allowing him to play monday night while the other players received 50 game suspensions. says rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs and then interfere with the investigation into the now defunct miami clinic. executed a man diagnosed as schizophrenic after the supreme court denied a last- minute bid to stays execution. sayers for john ferguson his death violated the eighth of moment which requires a person to understand the reason for his execution and the impact the death penalty will have. they said ferguson believed he would rise again after his execution to fight alongside jesus christ and save the country from a communist plot. ferguson was sentenced to death in 1978 for his role in two sets of killings.
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he die by lethal injection at 6:00 p.m. eastern time on monday. his final words were, "i just want everyone to know, i am the prince of god and i will rise again. co britain's metropolitan police have apologized to the family of a man killed by an officer during london's street 20 protest in 2009. ian tomlinson was a newspaper seller who played no role in the protest. he was walking home with his hands in his pockets when the police constable struck them with a proton and should -- baton and shoved him from behind. initially pathologist said he died from heart attack but it was later found he died from internal bleeding. the officer was acquitted of manslaughter last year later fired for gross misconduct read a settlement was announced and apologized for the use of an unlawful force read tomlinson's widow called the apologies as close as we're going to get to justice. rebel fighters in syria have taken control of the key air
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base in the province of aleppo, a significant pain that follows a series of recent losses to the regime of president bashar al- assad. the news comes as new reports find both sides are continuing to commit abuses. human rights watch says syrian military is firing ballistic missiles into populated areas, killing civilians, why the u.n. while the united nations high commissioner for human rights has called for an independent probe into heinz antigovernment rebels executed dozens of government soldiers and aleppo province. navi pillay said -- japan is marking the 60th anniversary of the bombing of .iroshima on august 6, 1945, u.s. warplanes enola gay dropped a nuclear bomb on the city. estimated 140,000 people died from the effects by the end of the year, although, some estimates have put the toll much higher.
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three days later, the restaurant the second bomb on nagasaki. the city observed a moment of silence at 8:15 local time, the was dropped.mb the japanese prime minister spoke later at a ceremony. >> sole victims of the nuclear attack. we have the responsibility to bring about a world without nuclear weapons and it is our duty to continue to remind the world of nuclear weapons in humanity. >> the anniversary comes as japan faces a nuclear crisis of a different kind of the fukushima daiichi powerplant was battered by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. groundwater contaminated with high levels of radiation has breached an underground barrier meant to contain it, feeling concerns they could reach the surface of the ground and accelerate the leaks. a nuclear watchdog official told reuters "right now, we have an emergency." bobby jindalernor
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has declared a state of emergency after a train jarell and spilled hazardous materials in the community west of baton rouge. roughly 100 homes remain evacuated following the toronto sunday. making cars up and materials including sodium hydroxide, which can be fatal if touched or inhaled. republican agenda in north carolina are taking their struggle statewide with the launch of mountain moral mondays. nearly 1000 people were arrested during 13 weeks of moral monday actions in the capital. on monday, thousands gathered in downtown asheville to continue protests against the rollback of voting rights, unemployment benefits, and abortion access. said thewilliam barber protests are coming to all 13 congressional districts. of the state capitol in madison, wisconsin arrested a number of people monday during the latest solidarity sing-
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along, peaceful singing protest against republican governor scott walker which is held each week -- each weekday in the rotunda. this singing has been a fixture at the capital for more than two years. steve byrne says police have arrested well over 100 people in a crackdown that began late last month. a this is the culmination of 2.5 year struggle for free speech. it restricts people's use of the forum forouse and free speech. the latest escalation includes arresting people and inciting us for violations of the permit laws. this sing-along is popping up in other places. we have heard of it in michigan and texas. people need to reclaim their state capitals. other states have more restrictive laws than we have and it is time people take back their capitals. >> and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman. the justice department has begun reviewing the controversial unit inside u.s. drug enforcement administration that uses secret domestic surveillance tactics -- including intelligence gathered by the national security agency -- to target americans for drug offenses. according to a series of articles published by the ,euters do it -- news agency agence are instructed to recruit the investigative trail in order to conceal the origins of the evidence. not only from defense lawyers, but sometimes from prosecutors and judges as well. dea training documents instructs agents to even make up alternative versions of how to investigate -- how such investigations truly began. on monday, jay carney was asked about the reuters investigation. >> is our understanding the department of justice is looking at issues into the story. >> the unit of the dea the distributes the secret intelligence agency is called
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the special operations division, or sod. dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the fbi, cia, nsa, irs, and the department of homeland security. graded twos first decades ago, but it is coming under increased scrutiny following the recent revelations about the nsa maintaining a database of all phone calls made in the u.s. one former federal judge said the dea program sounds were troubling the recent disclosures that the nsa has been collecting domestic phone records. she said -- for more we're joined by the reporter who broke the story, john shiffman, correspondent for reuters. his exclusive story, "u.s. tells agents to cover up use of wiretap program." welcome to democracy now! start out by laying it out and exactly what this cover-up is. >> thank you very much for having me.
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my colleague kristina cooke and i spoke with about a dozen or two dozen agents and obtained some internal documents that showed that what federal agents, not just dea but other agency work with the dea, what they're doing is they are starting -- a are claiming their investigation started step 2. they are withholding step 1. it is not just nsa intercepts. it is informant information, ation with wiretaps in one case and using them for a second case. that a large database of phone records. phoneer they get a records for someone suspected of involvement in drugs or gang involvement from the dea, they put all of those timbers into one giant database and use that information to compare different cases.
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all of the collection seems legitimate in terms of being court ordered. what troubled some critics is the fact they are hiding that information from drug defendant to face trial. the problem with that is, if these defendants won't know about some potentially that mayry information affect their case and the right to a fair trial. >> explain exactly how this information is being hidden from judges, prosecutors, and sometimes defense attorneys as well. >> sure. just to give you an example, through any of these four different ways including the nsa intercepts, the dea's special operations division will send the information to a dea agent in the field or fbi agent or ice agent or state policeman and give them the information. they will say, look, we understand there will be a truck went to a certain part in texas at a certain time, a red truck
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with maybe two people involved. the state trooper or the dea will find a reason to pull over the truck for a broken tail light or speeding, that sort of thing. and lo and behold inside the trunk they will find a kilo of cocaine. people who have been arrested will never know why the police or the dea pulled them over. they will think it is just luck. that is important because if those people try to go to trial, there are pieces of information about how the evidence was obtained and what it shows and what other pieces show that might affect the trial. >> on monday, i spoke with lynn greenwald just after your story broke, don't have the dea is using material gathered in part by the nsa and its surveillance of americans. when greenwald has broken several major stories about the nsa posthumus to get it pretty. this was his response. >> this should be a huge scandal. the absence of the constitution
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is the government cannot obtain evidence or information about unless it has probable cause to believe you have engaged in a crime and ghost according to its awards and only then is the evidence usable in a prosecution against you. what this secret agency is doing on according to reuters, it is circumventing that process by gathering all kinds of information without any court supervision, without any oversight at all, using surveillance technology that other forms of domestic spying. when he gets this information it believes can be used in the criminal prosecution, it knows that information can't be used in a criminal prosecution because it has been acquired outside the legal and constitutional process on a so they cover-up how they really got it and pretend -- they make it seem as though they really got it through legal and normal means, but in going back and retracing the investigation once they are ready have it and re- acquiring it so it looks to defense counsel and even to judges and prosecutors like it
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really was done in the constitutionally permissible way. so they're putting people in thatn for using evidence they have acquired illegally, which they are then covering up and lying about and convincing courts it was required -- acquired constitutionally. deceiving everyone involved in the criminal prosecutions about how the information is been obtained. , if you couldan elaborate on that and also talk about the differences between what the dea is doing and what glenn greenwald exposed around the nsa. >> sure. these are two very -- i think they're different topics for one main reason, which is the nsa revelations by mr. greenwald and mr. snowden are related to terrorism -- at least, that is what we are told by the government. -- very dea is doing is
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rarely do they get involved in terrorism. but inside the u.s., we're talking about ordinary crime, drug dealing, organized crime, money laundering. we're not talking about national security crimes. one thing i would say, the defense analyst i have spoken with, defense attorney analysts, they emphasize less of the probable cause aspect. what they find really troubling is the pretrial discovery three and the prosecutors obligation to turn over any exculpatory evidence. whatever problem with is this program systematically excludes or appears to systematically exclude all evidence obtained that is hidden from view so the defense does not know to request it. they find that more troubling than the probable cause aspects. the supreme court has given a
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police wide pro- interpretation of when probable cause can be obtained in a variety of exceptions, but it is really the pretrial discovery part of it that troubles a lot of the former judges and defense attorneys. toone of the two slides used train agents with the drug enforcement agency instructs them in these a parallel construction. according to the slide this is a second slide instructs agents that such evidence describe what you uncovered about those rules and this concept of parallel construction, which until now, had not been publicly discussed in writing. >> what really surprised me was talking to agents, current and
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former, who said, "sure, we do that." the other half said, "i could see how people would have a problem with that." the other said, "this is a hard job we do and are going after criminals and drug dealers." the people who got most offended i think were the lawyers, the prosecutors and the judges and the former judges. one current prosecutor told me florida where a dea agent came to him with the case and said that it began with an important so they were proceeding with the case. the prosecutor asked the dea agent for more information. it turns out ultimately they found out there was no informants, it was nsa wiretapping. overseas. that really upset the prosecutor because he said it really offended his sense of fair play and honesty.
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he said it was just a bad way to start an investigation, starting it with the lie. >> i want to bring in the executive director of the a policy alliance. ethan, why are the revelations by this investigation so significant for your work? isi think what it plays into this remarkable lack of oversight of the dea by , foress, by other agencies decades now. this is the 40th anniversary of the dea. nixon created it as a merge a police agencies and drug enforcement agencies back in one of the earlier drug wars. what you see is an organization with a budget of over $2 billion. you see an organization getting involved in all sorts of shenanigans, hiring informants, locking up some low-level
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offender and forgetting about him in a prison cell in the case of daniel chong who is left in a prison cell for five days and forgotten. beyond that, yet the agency serving as a propaganda agency with no -- with none of its statements held any sort of scientific standards. you have an administrator who has to advise congress and is laughing stock.o i hope this report is a wake-up call for people in congress to say, now is the time, finally after 40 years, to say this agency really needs some close examination. the dea has agreed to pay $4.1 million in a settlement to a san diego college student who nearly lost his life after being left handcuffed in his cell for more than four days without food or water re-add he ultimately drank
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his urine as he lay there, yelling out to agents outside. his name was daniel chong, for 20 celebration of marijuana culture and never charged with any crime and ultimately was released. is -- want tohat say this is just an accident, and accidents happen, but accidents like that should never happen we're talking about a police agency, much less a federal police agency, being allowed to just sort of forget about somebody. in the end, what happens to taxpayers bailout the dea from his killing someone for no cause whatsoever. each year the dea goes through its own little appropriations hearings in congress. each year it gets approved. each year they sort of get a ride. inhink things are piling up
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a way that should no longer be sustained. >> john shiffman, what has been ?our response rocks they say it is perfectly legal to what they do. -- one dea official told us this was a bedrock principle, parallel construction that they use every day. a were pretty unabashed about it and said they have been doing this since the late 90s and there's really nothing wrong with it. yesterday the justice department said they were going to review it. but the dea has said, there's no problem with this. >> how many people does this impact? impact, it would would think, everyone. we're talking about a principle of law here. not to get too legal, but if you are arrested, one of the fundamental rights you have is to see the evidence against you.
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at thewas jim interview dea, they decided the ted stevens case, which involved prosecutorial misconduct in which the senators charges were thrown out. they said after that there would be a review of all of the discovery procedures throughout the justice department, including at special operations division, but they said -- so i said, can i see a copy of the review? they said, no. >> so it is all legal? >> well, that is what happens when any agency gets to do what it wants to do for years and years and years without anybody looking over its shoulder. this agency has also done things in the area of medical marijuana, scientific research, the scheduling process of drugs were by they would go through the legal process, to the minister it of law process judges comehave down with recommendations that are scientifically based, that
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are credible, and then they will have to pollute the appointed head of the agency overruled those recommendations for no purpose whatsoever. once again, congress is not asking any questions. obviously, the obama administration's job as well an error holders job as well, but it is ultimately converses job that has to care about these things. i am hoping it is not just democrats in the senate, but republicans in the house will say, this agency is gone too far. republicans have never been great friends of overstepping federal police power and i hope they can find some common cause with democrats saying, what a second, let's call the dea in here and look at what john shiffman has found with this in just investigative report. >> thank you for being with us, john shiffman and ethan nadelman . we will have a link to the story at democracynow.org.
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when we come back, we go to richmond, california, to speak with the mayor. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. it was a year ago today when a massive fire at a chevron refinery in richmond, california sent toxic smoke billowing into the year about 10 miles northeast of san francisco. and the aftermath, more than 15,000 people were hospitalized with respiratory problems. chevron pleaded no contest to criminal charges related to the fire and agree to the additional oversight the next three years and pay $2 million in fines and restitution as part of the plea deal with stating county prosecutors. on saturday, thousands of people marched to condemn safety issues at chevron's plant and a call for renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. the protest was part of a wave of summer heat actions led by
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350.org including a march to chevron's refinery, where 210 people were arrested. this is bill mckibben who was among those who are arrested. >> the reason we are here is because chevron is a really bad actor, ok? gethe places where they their oil, they are a bad actor. as the people in canada fighting their fracking, the people in ecuador who have had to live with their waste. when they get it here to refine it, they are a bad actor. they sent 15,000 of their neighbors to the hospital. or'shey are bad, bad act on this planet. they have 9 billion barrels of oil in their reserves, ok? if they burn most of those, then we cannot deal with climate change. >> just before the protest, the city of richmond filed a lawsuit against chevron over the fire, claiming it followed a more than a dozen similar incidents.
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this is longtime environmental organizer of communities for a better environment. >> we know we are the little and they are the big and powerful multinational corporation. in fact, in international criminal cartel. but given all that, what we know is we have people power. they have the money power, we have the people power, and that is what we are demonstrating today. as long as we can continue to bring people out, we know chevron ultimately will have to deal with us because we can't allow them to control our lives here in richmond. we're going to run our local politics and drive chevron's people out of government and return the power to the people here in richmond. >> for more we're joined by the mayor of richmond, california, gayle mclaughlin, a member of the green party and among the thousands who protested saturday. in 2011 she skipped a veteran state serving sponsored by chevron, later wrote an open letter to occupy wall street that noted --
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mayor mclaughlin, we welcome you back to democracy now! chevron has agreed to pay $2 million. your thoughts? although they pled no contest. >> thank you for having me here today. thinking $2hevron million -- the thought chevron thinking $2 billion is going to be sufficient in terms of addressing the problems, the ongoing threat because to my community is really outrageous. chosety of richmond to move forward with this lawsuit. i did as mayor because i owe it to the residents of richmond to pursue this lawsuit. demanding accountability from chevron to ensure the safety of
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our community. their approach to our community has been totally and willfully neglectful. we owe it to our community to totally ensure their safety and to bring forward and safeguard the rights of our community to live, play, and work without the threat of injury because of chevron and with the threat of chevron bringing forward yet again another incident. you know, due to the lack of safety in their facilities. .e really feel strongly this is serious in richmond. we are not backing down. >> i want to turn to one of the thousands who marched saturday to mark the anniversary of the refinery fire. this is a healthcare worker who helped treat people a year ago. worked, after the
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fire last year, it affected primarily people who were older, younger, had chronic diseases or health issues like asthma. the people whose immune system is weak or were greatly affect did. in general, it affected everybody. we saw people with difficulty breathing, with coughing, whose asthma was exacerbated and he did emergency treatment. we saw a lot of kids affected. we saw skin issues. robison also spoke at the rally as she described the chevron refineries fire's impact. >> last year on august 6, we were coming out of the last week of our summer apart his program working with over 50 used to grow food here in richmond and these guys went dark from the fire. you could see the flame from my front porch over 10 blocks away.
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we had to tear out all of the food we were growing in the last six months and throw it away because we did not know if it was contaminated or not read it was absolutely devastating. but it made us open our eyes even further. we knew, but we did not know, right, to the need that we have to stand up as richmond residents on the front lines of chevron. >> richmond mayor gayle mclaughlin, explain exactly what happened a year ago. what time was it? where were you? what did you understand was taking place as it was happening? >> the incident happened on august 6, exactly one year ago today. it was about 6:00 p.m. in the evening, somewhere thereabouts. i had just gotten home from work and was doing some further work on my computer. it was clear the sirens went off.
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that cost us, and cause me immediately to call our police chief and city manager. calls were coming in to me from resident saying there was a huge cloud of smoke traveling across richmond. we hear it is from chevron. the police chief confirmed it. chevron calls me. there was a shelter in place. all of our community had to stay behind doors. people had to bring in their children for several hours. for several hours we were in our homes, left there not knowing for sure whether this was going to be gotten under control or not. 15,000 people were brought to local hospitals for respiratory problems that day in the days that followed. 19 workers narrowly escaped with their lives. as i said, the shelter in place for all of richmond.
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public transit was stopped. buses were stopped. people were stranded at bart stations and bus stations that people could not get out of richmond on their way home from work. it was a real disaster situation. >> did you understand what chemicals were on fire, what chemicals were being released to the atmosphere? >> we did not at the time. we were certainly very concerned. i was in touch with chevron and chevron management, and they were saying they were getting it under control. in the days and weeks that followed the incident, we were engaged with regulatory agencies. we had a chemical safety board come to richmond and do an independent mastication -- investigation. we learned a type had been corroded and thinned to less than the thickness of a dime,
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and that is what caused the leak and ultimate explosion and fire, which traveled throughout richmond and into the bay area as a whole. so we think this is extremely, extremely negligent. >> very quickly, if you could -- >> cal osha has presented those fines for criminal charges. >> if you could tell us the demographics of richmond and the history of chevron, just very briefly, in richmond. >> yes, richmond is a diverse community. we are largely in a predominately people of color community. 39% latinos, 27% african americans and other people of color and white as well. beautifully diverse community. with a history of fighting the environmental injustice of chevron for decades going back. in recent years, in the recent
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10 years of an alliance, richmond progressive alliance has battled chevron and battled them on the electoral field with chevron spending millions of dollars to defeat good, progressive candidates who want a clean city and to support chevron's candidates. we have been in a david versus goliath fight for a long time. really great on saturday to join with our allies all over the bay area in california, coming to richmond and really making it clear that the community of richmond does not deserve and will not stand for these kinds of toxic releases that impact our health and safety and also impact the sustainability of our planet. so we were strong and united with community activists, with help activists, with unionist all over the bay area on
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saturday. we even have the people of ecuador bring forward a full- page ad in many local newspapers and other newspapers sing the people of ecuador stand with the people of richmond. and saying we have the most devastating weapon there is, and that is the truth. it was great to see that line in the newspaper. we had the spirit of people all over the world with us and 2500 people marching and rallying to the front of the gates of chevron on saturday. we definitely will be continuing this momentum because so much is at stake, and we are not backing down. >> we're speaking with richmond mayor gayle mclaughlin in california. we're going to go to a break and then come back to talk with you about another novel approach you are taking and it has to do with foreclosure and eminent domain area did we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as president obama has to phoenix today to talk about housing, i want to turn now to how richmond, california is tackling its foreclosure crisis. all must have for the city's residential mortgage holders are underwater. last week richmond became the first in the country to offer the purchase mortgages of distressed homeowners from wall street banks and other lenders. under a plan approved by the city council in april, richmond can also use its eminent domain authority to purchase loans in order to modify them and allow families to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. other cities are dancing similar bills like newark, new jersey
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and here in new york city. richmond mayor gayle mclaughlin remains with us now from berkeley, california to discuss this new way of addressing the foreclosure crisis. lay it out for us, mayor mclaughlin. >> yes, of course. first of all, the housing crisis in richmond is not over -- far so, from being over. 900 closures last year and just as many in the pipeline this year. is somethingtion we feel and the city of richmond we have to address. it is destabilizing our families and neighborhoods. it has caused a huge impact of the city has a whole. so the city is stepping in to fix the situation. the banks sold our community predatory loans and now they have no solution that they're presenting for this crisis. fix theing pping in to
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these troubloans o the hands of the banks. we are paying them fair market value for these loans, then working with the homeowners to refinance and modify loans in line with current home values. so we call on the banks to voluntarily sell as these loans. if they don't cooperate, we will be considering eminent domain. again, paying them fair market value for these mortgages. >> republican congress number john campbell of california has introduced a bill that would block your efforts to use eminent domain to purchase home mortgages. and a press statement, campbell said --
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mayor mclaughlin, your response? >> first of all, that argument hold water at all. this is a fair and simple transaction. they're getting fair market value for mortgages. the city has every legal right to do this. the city has researched this vastly and from many legal sources. we are utilizing eminent domain if necessary to help the situation. the market will not recover without this recovery for cities like richmond that are struggling still with a spiraling down housing crisis. so we don't think that bill in congress will pass. we don't think it holds water. we think we have every right to
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do so in a move forward, as we are, and an obligation to do so. we think these kind of actions are totally, totally outside the realm of the law. tomayor mclaughlin, i want thank you very much for being with us, but we're going to continue to look at this issue over closures as we turn now to a new book that documents those who are fighting back. our guest is laura gottesdiener, author of, "a dream foreclosed: black america and the fight for a place to call home." it was just published by zoo caught a part press read the book follows happy blood dealt with the housing crisis within the context of the broader financial collapse. it focuses on the story of four families who a pushback against foreclosures at a time when more than 10 million people across the country benefited from their homes in the last six years. welcome to democracy now! it is an incredible book. 10 million people foreclosed upon. the size of the state of michigan. >> yes, thank you so much for
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having me. when i was starting to look at these numbers and i so we're talking about 10 million people, the never people who currently live in the state of michigan, i was floored. the reason i was floored, we don't hear that number -- ever. the reason we don't measure this crisis in terms of the actual number of people, the number of ,amilies who have been evicted the way human people have actually been affected is families, don't value human life, as much as we value stock prices, speculation, and monetary value. jimmy, the fact nobody even knows 10 million people have been evicted since: thousand seven the trade -- since 2007, betrays what happened. >> in the first sentence, few
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recall that one week after dr. on april 11, 1960 eight, president lyndon johnson signed into law the fair housing act, which outlaws discrimination, sale, rental, financing of dwellings on another housing related on race, color, national origin. there hasn't been wall street executives jailed for what has happened to the population, what, 10 million people. >> not a single one. yes, the fair housing act was signed in 1968 and the fair lending act in 19 77, but that didn't stop the banks from intentionally discriminating against people on the basis of race. the wait it happened has been incredibly well-documented. one loan officer testified they put -- wells fargo put counties on the heads of minority
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borrowers by paying cash incentives to loan officers to push those aggressively in minority neighborhoods. i think we are often reluctant to talk about as well is the banks exploited larger historical trajectory of discrimination in lending and in housing that has existed since the beginning of this country. the banks intentionally went into communities that have been redlined, which meant the federal housing administration, the government, had made it a policy not to lend and not guarantee any loan in minority neighborhoods all throughout most of the 20th century. they exploited that historical reality to push the worst of the worst loans in these communities that everyone knew were absolutely unpayable debt. homeowners didn't know because they weren't honest -- things were not honest by the terms of the loans. we're seeing blatant discrimination and loans today, but we're also seeing the exploitation of history of
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racial the summation. >> the buzzword today is housing recovery. all over in the media they show the map of how housing prices have gone up in phoenix intemperance is go and president obama will be in phoenix today to highlight this, that it is all turned around. we're talking about the rising prices rea. we're not talking about the lives affected, we are not talking about the end of her closures. what we're really talking about honestly is large private equity companies, including one of the largest private equity countries in the world, making it a point now, making it a policy to go in with huge tracts of land foreclosed houses. based and billions of dollars in the last few years buying up hundreds of thousands of -- they havemes
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spent billions of dollars in the last few years buying up hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes. you're not just talking about devastated america, you're talking about devastated americans fighting back. give us an example. >> something i think people sometimes misunderstood as i didn't write the book and focus on black america because that community is been most devastated, but i focus on a because that community has been the most organized and resistance and the most visionary and some of the concrete proposals for how we can restructure ownership and control of land and housing for the future's so this crisis wouldn't happen again. bertha garrett in detroit, 65- year-old grandmother, writer, deeply religious, the mother of six children. when the banks try to foreclose on her home that she lived in
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for 22 years, she said, "i'm not leaving." she and her husband, who is legally blind, called up , hundreds of people and they amassed on her front lawn, they blocked the bank from letting the city put the dumpster legally required to be there to haul out all of her property, all of the things she and her family had built over the years. jimmy even more -- as hundreds for locking this emma she was with whereside they refuse to even meet with her. she said, well, if i can't come in to this office, the nobody can come out. the 65-year-old deeply religious grandmother laid down in front of the office of the bank and said, "i'm not
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moving. i refuse to move." the next day they called her an offer to sell her the home for incredibly affordable rate. to me that signifies communities across the country, particularly in african-american neighborhoods, are refusing to move and saying, "we live in this neighborhood and we should have the right to control what happens in this neighborhood." if we talk about community control of land, talking about people who live in the neighborhood should have the right to make decisions about how the land is used. that wouldn't just help us have a legitimate housing recovery, it would also help us make safer and more informed decisions about economic, and terminal policies. imagine if we made decisions about mining based on what people in the community wanted. imagine schools, hospitals, prisons are based on what actual communities needed. >> tells about martha biggs in chicago. >> incredible mother of four he
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spent about a decade homeless in south side chicago. she was evicted twice. finally she said, i don't want my family to be sleeping in my minivan and have these think owned homes creating crime, creating. othersalong with rehabbed a bank owned home and she and her family liberated it and they still live there. >> in north carolina we see moral monday's. tell us the story about greg. >> he spent about 10 years legally fighting incredibly conjugated foreclosure in which he dealt with every single major perpetrator of these crimes. wells fargo, gmac, the robo signing -- everything. he got more than 40 foreclosure
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filings over the course of a decade. one time he got it dismissed. two days later he received a new one in the mail. history demonstrates the way wall street had actually no idea what they were doing through the foreclosure crisis. and there's no reason we should continue to allow them to break these laws. >> in your book, there are numerous images of quilts, what are labeled "foreclosure quilts." and he talked about how you learned from them and what they are? >> they were created by an artist and former urban planner named kathryn clark. they stitched the foreclosures and neighborhoods. that one is detroit for it every single red square is a foreclosed house. you can see full block set up in foreclosed on. i was so struck by these images because they show the real human value, the real human toll of this crisis.
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to me it is a very beautiful effort to measure this crisis in the real human terms. and that is what i tried to do in this book, showing the real human devastation and also showing communities organized in resisting the fight -- organizing to fight back. >> how are you inspired by occupy wall street? >> i was incredibly inspired by the space it opened up. up the space to imagine different ways to organize society. for me, the workpiece committed these, the take back the land, city links in boston, all of these groups are imagining a new way to reconstruct society, a way that is more humane and values human life over private property. >> laura gottesdiener, thank you for being with us. the book is called, "a dream foreclosed: black america and the fight for a place to call home." it was just published by zoo caught a part rest.
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